Let’s be honest — when is the last time you updated your Web site? For most real estate agents it’s a couple times a year.
In 2010, it’s no longer OK to have a Web site that is static — one that just sits there and never gets updated.
If you are thinking of updating your site, it is easier now more than ever. More and more agents are moving to a WordPress platform. It’s easy to use and edit, there are tons of great templates, and it’s search-engine-optimization friendly (search engines love WordPress).
Plus, there are more and more IDX (Internet Data Exchange) plugins available practically every day on WordPress.
If you are like most agents, you have a site you either got for free with your brokerage, or you paid someone to design it five to 10 years ago and really haven’t done much since.
Here are five things to look at when re-evaluating your site:
1. Am I getting leads? If so, how many? If you are not consistently getting new leads from your Web site you are missing the boat. I know: "But Katie, most of my business is from past clients and referrals!" That is great!
But imagine if on top of that business you were getting five solid new leads a month. Five leads a month multiplied by 12 months equals 60 solid leads (by solid I mean people who are truly interested in buying or selling within three to six months).
2. Do you know what your web traffic is like? If not, sign up for Google Analytics. It’s free and super easy to install. Many people consider analytics like accounting, but for your Web site, it’s a crucial part of monitoring your success!
Pay attention to your site’s "bounce rate" — the percentage of visitors who leave your site without clicking even one page deeper into it. A high or rising bounce rate is a sure sign that your home page is boring or off-putting.
3. Is my content fresh? Think about the last time you went to a Web site only to realize the content is old. The fastest way to have people leave your site is to have stale info. By using a platform like WordPress you can easily add new content, such as first-time homebuyer tax credit info, a link to your e-newsletter, events in your area, market stats, and your blog (if applicable).
You also need to schedule time in your monthly calendar at least twice a month where you will update your site — the first and the 15th, perhaps.
4. What is the first thing people see on my Web site? Take a hard look at your home page. Every link, every image, every word should have a purpose. I am a big believer in simple and easy-to-navigate Web sites. One of my favorite sites is Nest Realty. I only wish more info was "above the fold," but overall I think Nest does a fantastic job of having the right balance of information on it’s home page.
Also, make sure when you are looking at your home page you have easy-to-find social media links, such as links to your Facebook page or profile, LinkedIn profile and Twitter profile.
5. Make sure your Web site is easy to figure out and loads fast, says Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist. The biggest way you can lose people is having a complicated site that doesn’t make sense to the user.
The best way to test your site is to have someone try it who has never looked at it. At a recent Real Estate Connect conference, the marketing team at Redfin talked about the power of having someone struggle with your site right in front of you.
Have a few people sit down in front of you on a computer, and just watch them click around on your site. What do they click on? Where do you see them hesitate and struggle. You will be DYING to instruct them, but resist! Just watch and you will learn so much.
The bottom line is: No one will care as much about your Web site as you do. It is up to you to take back your Web site and make sure it is doing everything you need it to do!
I would love your comments and feedback. Please leave a comment below!
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Katie Lance is the marketing manager for Inman News. Future of Real Estate Marketing is a part of Inman News.
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